10 Health Reasons to Start Drumming

The Health Benefits of Beating Your Own Drum

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Not long ago I watched a video on social media showing a room full of women in a guided drumming class drumming and moving to their beats. My first thought was “How fun! I want to do that!” I mean, who doesn’t want to feel like a rock star?

Cardio drumming classes, such as Drums Alive and Pound, have been around for a few years. But, the benefits you receive when you take this type of class are so much greater than those of your average aerobics class.  For one thing, everyone is smiling and having a ball!   It doesn’t surprise me that this trend has come around now and is especially popular with women because drums put us in synch with Mother Earth.  In fact, in ancient cultures sacred drumming was performed by women.

Drums have been used in every culture for many purposes from religious rituals and other ceremonies, to sporting events, and as a way to communicate or signal. Shamans used drumming as a means of reaching an altered or trance-like state so that they can connect with the spirit dimension.  Drumming has also been used therapeutically since ancient times.

Today, in addition to being a cardio workout, modern research shows that drumming has many positive effects on your health. The “medicine” drum is still used in many Native American ceremonies today for good reason: drumming can promote physical and emotional healing, boost your immune system, produce feelings of well-being, and – all drummer jokes aside – it can even make you smarter!

Your Brain on Drums

Drumming is a great workout for your brain and actually can make you smarter because when you drum you access your entire brain. Research shows that the physical transmission of rhythmic energy to the brain actually synchronizes the left and right hemispheres. So, when the logical left hemisphere and the intuitive right hemisphere of your brain begin to pulsate together, your inner guidance system – or intuition – becomes stronger. 

And listening to drum sounds regularly can have the same effect as drumming itself.  

The sound of drumming generates new neuronal connections in all parts of the brain. The more connections that can be made within the brain, the more integrated our experiences become.  This leads to a deeper sense of self-awareness.

Drumming also appears to synchronize the lower areas of the brain (non-verbal) with the frontal cortex (language and reasoning). This integration produces feelings of insight and certainty.  

For these reasons therapeutic drumming may be a powerful tool in helping retrain the brains of people who have some level of damage or impairment, such as with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), after a stroke, or where there is neurological disease such as Parkinson’s.

Finally, drumming can induce a natural “high” by increasing Alpha brain waves.  When the brain changes from Beta waves (concentration) to Alpha waves, you feel calm and relaxed.

As such, Alpha waves can also produce feelings of well-being and even euphoria, which may help people who suffer from mental illness, such as depression and anxiety.

This same Alpha activity is associated with meditation and other integrative modes of consciousness.

10 Health Reasons to Start Drumming

Drumming can have positive effects on your health and may help with many conditions from stress, fatigue, and anxiety, to hypertension, asthma, chronic pain, arthritis, mental illness, addiction, and even cancer.

Here’s why drumming is good for you:

  1. Makes you happy. Participate in a drum circle or take a cardio drumming class and you will see how happy it makes you. Drumming releases endorphins, enkephalins and Alpha waves in the brain, which are associated with general feelings of well-being and euphoria.
  1. Induces deep relaxation. In one study, blood samples from participants who participated in an hour-long drumming session revealed a reversal in stress hormones.
  1. Helps control chronic pain. Drumming can certainly serve as a distraction from pain. And, it promotes the production of endorphins and endogenous opiates, which are the body’s own morphine-like painkillers.
  1. Boosts your immune system. Studies show that drumming circles boost the immune system. Barry Bittman, MD, neurologist and President of the Yamaha Music & Wellness Institute, has shown that group drumming actually increases natural T-cells, which help the body combat cancer as well as other viruses, including AIDS.
  1. Creates a sense of connectedness. Drumming circles and group drumming classes provide an opportunity for “synchronicity” in that you connect with your own spirit at a deeper level while also connecting with other like-minded people.
  1. Aligns your body and mind with the natural world. The Greek origin of the word “rhythm” is “to flow.” Drumming allows you to flow with the rhythms of life by simply feeling the beat.
  1. Provides a way to access a higher power. Shamans often use drumming as a means to integrate mind, body and spirit. They focus on the whole body and then integrate the healing at both the physical and spiritual level by drumming, which connects spiritual forces.
  1. Releases negative feelings. The act of drumming can serve as a form of self-expression. You can literally drum out your feelings. When held, negative emotions can form energy blockages. The physical stimulation of hitting the drums can help remove those blockages. Drumming has even been used therapeutically to help addicts deal with their emotions.
  1. Puts you in the present moment. While drumming you are moving your awareness toward the flow of life. When you are flowing with the rhythm of life you cannot be caught up in your past or worrying about your future.
  1. Allows for personal transformation. Drumming stimulates creative expression. When you drum in a group, you not only get to self-express, but you get feedback from the other drummers.  It’s the equivalent of talk therapy! Drum circles provide a means of exploring your inner self, and expanding your consciousness while being part of a community.

Have you ever tried drumming?  Please share your experiences with me in the comments section.

Last Updated: March 21, 2016

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


Add comment
  1. Nicholas C
    1 week ago

    Awesome read! I actually linked back to this article from my blog, as I run a drumming website. Thank you!

  2. Sara
    1 week ago

    It sounds exactly what I need. How can I find groups that practice this type of healing?

  3. Les
    3 weeks ago

    I am 68 years of age and still enjoy playing a kit of drums even though my wife hates drums.

    I now play in the loft usually when she goes out of the house. It feels absolutely great!

    I started playing drums at an early age and played semi-pro for 10 years and sold my kit of drums aged 25 then I met my wife in 1977.

    The feeling came back about 5 years ago and I felt the need to play again – wonderful!

  4. Bethan ashton
    4 weeks ago

    Love this! Thank you for wording so well. I’m a POUND master trainer and our classes are so much more than keeping fit. the power of music and drumming within a fitness class is revolutionary. Mind, body, inner rockstar!

  5. Martin Richmond
    10 months ago

    My name is Martin, I have been playing drums since I was 16 years old. I am now 57 years old, but I feel beaten by aches & pains, associated with my drumming. I am desperate to play again after a year off because of the following symptoms. Neck and shoulder pain. After an hour or so, my neck feels like its burning, and goes tight and into a spasm. I have tried massage, chiropractor, physio, just about everything, but I so want to get back playing. I know I have a bad posture, and I am trying to keep upright. My doctor say’s its cervical spondilosis, and or, Fibra mialga, but I want to prove him wrong, and back behind a kit. Can ANYONE give me some advice please??

    1. Melanie
      8 months ago

      Hi Martin, I just read your comment and thought “maybe it’s time to change the type of your drum”… I’m no specialist at all, but I started joining occasional drum-meditation-evenings, and up until then I thought “drum is drum” – but the lady who leads the evenings explained that there are “fire drums”, that are mor about whats going on “outside” – like the african drums that are very common – and the shamanic drums she uses, they “take you back to yourself” so you are centered within yourself. Maybe you would like to go and explore different kinds of drums, if you haven’t already, and have a fell, what FEELS right for now? Whishing you all the best. Melanie

    2. Jen
      3 months ago

      Hi Martin. I am a drumming circle facilitator, promoting the holistic benefits of drumming within my community & felt compelled to comment. Don’t give up drumming! Perhaps research/explore other drums that will work better for you right now. Djembe? Frame drum? Get friends or family members to join you. Maybe you can consider starting up a drumming circle in your area-benefiting yourself & others. I hope that this inspires you in some way. All the best to you, Rock Star!

      1. Robert
        2 months ago

        Don’t give up on the drums Martin. As a guitarist of many years I was looking into realistic sounding drums to record with. I went down the route of drum machines and programming drum hits but was left frustrated at the tediousness of the process and mediocre results. Not having the room for a full drum kit, I started experimenting with a small drum pad keyboard sounds and sampled hits from my drum machine. Playing in real time I almost immediately found things much more enjoyable and the results were also much more natural sounding to my ear. As a by product, I also experienced a feeling of wellbeing after longish sessions. My point is that I don’t believe that you necessarily need to wield a full drum kit to feel the benefits. I am also looking at getting a cajon, which might not suit someone with back problems but there is a model that you can sit across your lap. I’m sure that with a bit of research you could find something rhythmically satisfying without having to resort to a full kit. Good luck.

  6. Wendy Miller
    1 year ago

    Great subject, Dr. Northrup. Since I am doing some personal research on drumming and health, I wonder whether you might supply some citations for the research mentioned above.

    Thanks and best,

    Wendy Miller

    1. Srrlsista
      10 months ago

      Michael Drake wrote the above, almost verbatim back in 2006.

  7. Geri
    1 year ago

    My friend has been trying to get me to join a drumming circle for quite a while. Seeing your name, Dr. Northrup attached to this article has convinced me I need to try it. Geri, (kitty’s mom)

  8. Mike Eisenburger
    2 years ago

    I’ve been drumming for 47 years and several personality tests, including Briggs Meyers, that I’ve taken show that I am not right or left hemisphere dominant. I am a data architect, which is very logical, but I am also very creative and have hobbies making music and art.

    I have also noticed that if I don’t drum for a while, I get depressed.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      I love how you have wired your brain and body to be ambidextrous as it were. Thanks so much for this amazing testimonial. I’d be curious to know if you were born left handed. Or kicked or batted with your left hand. I suspect you have a very creative and unusual brain structure.

  9. Lyne Westbrook
    2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing the benefits of drumming. I will share this post with my Facebook friends….

  10. Steven McClure
    2 years ago

    The word “rhythm” comes from the Greek for “flow.” When chimps come to a waterfall they will often go nuts, pound on the resonant buttress roots of trees and swing about excitedly on branches. After all, the water is playing, why shouldn’t we?

    The Thundergods of Portland play very hard, beside the Willamette River, all year every Sunday night. Peace, love, joy and drum.

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      2 years ago

      The Thundergods of Portland inspires me. I think we need some Thundergods in Portland Maine playing beside the Atlantic ocean. Thanks for this wonderful comment.

  11. Jane
    2 years ago

    I’ve been playing hand drums… Mostly djembe for over 20 years. Every word Dr. Northrup says and more is true
    Most specifically within the past five or six years I’ve started playing very regularly with drummers were better than me. So that means usually once or twice a week for two hours I am totally concentrating On my timing and the pattern on playing. That puts me told me in the present moment and absolutely prevents me from thinking about the past or worrying about the future For the whole time that I’m playing. I’ve noticed, as a result, my level of internal chatter and negative self talk is probably decreased by 50 to 25%.

  12. Beth
    2 years ago

    What type of drum do you use? I have a djembe but like lower tones.

    1. Cate
      2 years ago

      I play the djembe and ashiko primarily but I also play frame drums. I am a amateur and don’t play nearly enough. Any drum, in my humble opinion, will do. I always feel energized during (and afterr) the spiritual drummimg groups I attend! I never knew there was scientific reasoning behind it! What I love about the djembe is that at this point I don’t have to think or concentrate. I just play!

    2. Alan Tauber
      2 years ago

      Remember, you can tune your DJEMBE to boost the low tones. It’s all available to you. If you need help, ask a friend expert DJEMBE tuner! Good luck and bless you for playing djembe. http://www.drumconnection.com

    3. Elaine
      2 years ago

      My first experience with drumming was when I was fortunate enough to stay a traditional native village in the North West Territories of Canada. My in-laws had a teaching post. Since they were trusted and respected in the community we were all invited to a community feast and drumming celebration. I swear I went into a trance after listening to the drumming for about 1 hour. Mind you I might have become tired and sleepy after the feast of caribou, bannock and Jello. Yes, jello was a surprise.
      My son bought a drumming kit as a teenager, and I used to sneak into his room when he wasn’t at home and play his drums. I swear I always felt so relaxed after playing his drums. My husband chuckled at my lack of rhythm, but I did get better over time.
      Then I bought a jemba (spelling?) for my son. It turned out he didn’t like it because of the tone, but I took it to a local jemba drumming circle that was being held in the community. The instructor was very good and I soon found I was drumming along in the circle with a great sense of rhythm and feeling of accomplishment. The connection you feel to others in the drumming circle must also be good for mental health. Again, I experienced such profound relaxation at this evening outing. I slept so deeply after it. I would think some people might get stimulated, and so this might not be a sleep remedy. However, until you try it you won’t know. I have gone to a few drumming circles with different leaders. Many provide the drums for beginners, so this wouldn’t be a barrier to joining. Thanks so much for your article. It motivated me to get out and go drumming again.

  13. Jada
    2 years ago

    I was quite athletic as a child and young adult, I never learned how to play any instrument. When I turned 29, I didn’t want that to be my story at 30, so I took private drum lessons for a year. I loved them. I moved to another city and it no longer fit into my space, but I had gotten pretty good at it. Looking forward to revisiting at sine point.

  14. Patti
    2 years ago

    I fell in love with Taiko drumming during an Obon festival I attended a few years ago. Since then, I have taken classes and workshops, and bought a drum to practice at home. Everything you said about drumming is true. I even use shamanic drumming in my sound healing sessions because it opens the heart chakra. Thank you for the excellent article.

  15. DebP
    2 years ago

    I had drumming at a memory/life celebration ceremony in honor of my youngest son who had walked past us the year before. We used drums to welcome folks and as a background to prayers as we scattered his ashes on the mountain and into the river. It was confusing to some. Unnecessary and unnerving to a few. And downright scary to others. Yet, in its simplicity, it was profound, soothing and comforting to the rest of us.. Mother Earth’s heartbeat. Nothing sends out unconditional love more than that.

    1. Jules
      2 years ago

      So moving reading your story ,many blessings ..I’m so happy to have drumming in my life.

    2. Christiane Northrup
      2 years ago

      I love the term ” walked past us”. And this ceremony sounds so profound and wonderful. Thank you.

  16. Tommy Purple Haze
    2 years ago

    A very good context here Dr. Christine. I have added another dimension in using drum circles and their related culture dances to bring together people not only to drum & dance but to raise money for good causes. I’d like to share my mission statement.

    DRUMS from HEAVEN became a reality on October 29’th, 2005.
    The original idea was to organize Saddle Brook’s first drum circle and bring together school age kids, getting them off the street and teaching them to communicate through the rhythm of the drum. As the building blocks were being put into place to form our new little community, a devastating storm hit the southern United States. Hurricane Katrina blasted through Louisianna and other southern states causing horrifying damage and loss of life. My feelings grew very strong towards helping some of the survivors. It was decided we would now do our first drum circle as a huge benefit and raise money to send to school age kids and their families in need. I felt like we were doing a heavenly deed, alas, the name DRUMS from HEAVEN was born. Through the efforts of about 100 people, drummers and or dancers alike, we came together for an extraoidinary night of percussion. We were able to raise $1500.
    on Halloween weekend at the first DRUMS from HEAVEN drum circle. Everyone who came felt the vibe of goodness.
    Our community of drummers & dancers have grown now to crowds of up to 200 over the 10 years of existence.
    Drum circles have come a long way over the last 20 years. They are showing up all over the place. We have gone way beyond the campfire drum circle! There are many new people entering the drumming community as it evolves into many new areas in society. It makes me happy to see percussion sounds being used in music therapy programs. I’ve used it for special needs students. There are Hospitals who have therapeutic programs which involve drumming and the use of percussion instruments as part of their therapy.
    For those of us who have experienced a drum circle we know the rewarding feeling we all get when we participate. We get energized, we get relaxed. We forget about our busy lives while we drum. Some of us meditate and focus on their inner being. Others feel the rhythms penetrate through their bodies. Some of us connect through drum and dance. The most important thing we are doing is communicating and making one another feel good.
    What is DRUMS from HEAVEN? The people who come together at DRUMS from HEAVEN are all special. They are YOU! We are people who care about other peoples needs. We drum and dance for the fun of it, we make each other happy and while we do this we try and help raise money for a worthy cause. We are Heavenly drummers!
    A typical DRUMS from HEAVEN usually features a very entertaining interactive free style drum circle welcoming anyone to join in with no drumming experience needed. Some events are mixed in with short cultural performances. People can enjoy a relaxing and energizing time by participating in the drum and dance circle or watching and listening to the variety of world drum rhythms. Belly dancers and African style or any kind of dancers are welcome.
    DRUMS from HEAVEN has provided venues for the purpose of raising funds for selected charitable causes. All funds raised, minus costs are turned over to that charitable need. Over the past 10 years, I am proud to say we have raiser over $60,000 for a variety of needy families and worthy organizations. Please come experience DRUMS from HEAVEN!
    Sing on brother…Play on drummer… TommyPurpleHaze

    1. Christiane L Northrup
      2 years ago

      FANTASTIC POST!!! Drum on oh Heavenly TOMMY PURPLE HAZE!!

  17. Lisa Carson
    2 years ago

    I am a part of a cardio drumming group in Wyandotte MI and I LOVE IT!
    We have the best time, everyone in class is great and I’ve become a complete drumming junkie! I’m there four times a week and it has truly, changed my life!!

  18. Barbara
    2 years ago

    I really want to start,but can’t find where to buy a drum. I live in Lakeland, Florida. Help.

    1. Dori Staehle
      2 years ago


      You can go to your local music store or purchase a drum online at http://www.x8drums.com. It’s important to get the right size drum and there are videos on the X8 Drums site to help you with that. I use a Djembe with a 12″ head (That’s the diameter measurement of the top of the drum.). For people with larger hands or a larger frame, I’d go with a drum with a 14″ head. Most of my drums are made by Toca percussion. Remo drums are good, too. I do drumming events and drum therapy in the Raleigh, NC area and I do private sessions virtually as well. There are 2 women I know of in Florida, however. Check for groups on MeetUp.com.

  19. Dee Greenberg
    2 years ago

    Here in South Florida dancing is a huge part of the drum circle culture. We integrate some African rhythms with a lot of improvisation and creative expression through the drums and dancing. These are leaderless drum circles with minimal structure and the results are amazing. You can catch a glimpse here. We drum outdoors in dowtown Delray Beach every Wed night at Old School Square Park. https://youtu.be/V1TtBJ4cQlo

  20. Julie Corey
    2 years ago

    Thank you Dr. Northrup for this informative article about the benefits of drumming. I have been a Drum Circle Facilitator for many years now and I am very excited to see that drumming has hit the mainstream globally! Most of my teachers were Native Grandmothers, other Elder women, and talented men too. I have carried on a lineage passed down to me. Drum on! Blessings, Julie. http://www.thevillagedrumLLC.com

  21. Nadiya Nottingham
    2 years ago

    Thank you dear Dr. N. This is such a life affirming piece. I am a Celtic Priestess of Bridget and I lead women in Womb Healing ceremonies with drumming to connect to ancestor teachers. The drum has been part of my Irish culture for millennia, the sound of the drum connects us to our mother’s heartbeat, her first communication with us in utero and perhaps the one we need to get back to in order to heal mother/child history. The drum is THE universal instrument, for reasons that are both known and unknown. Yours in Gratitude, Nadiya Nottingham

  22. Lindsay
    2 years ago

    This is the truth! I have had a rough year, lost my job, death of a pet, family problems, car accident and some other minor issues. But during this time I was able to join an all female drumming band (Batala) and every Saturday morning nothing else matters but hitting my drum. I would probably be hiding under my bed feeling hopeless if it weren’t for those rehearsals.

  23. Linda Hallinan
    2 years ago

    I am going to share, share, share this article with all the wonderful women I drum with, and more importantly the women who have been wanting to but haven’t yet. I’m a drum student and a drum teacher. We have a women’s percussion performance group so between classes and practices I probably drum 5 days a week. It is joyful, stress relieving and so much fun. I’ve made wonderful lifetime friends and we laugh so much sometimes my face hurts!

  24. Birger Berger
    2 years ago

    it helps to me in psoriatis problem, if i play skin in my hand 100 percent clean

  25. Graeme Green
    2 years ago

    I am a drummer for horses and an equine reiki healer.
    I visit people’s horses and drum fro them in the UK. The healing experience for the horse is an incredibly powerful and direct one. They carry both emotional and physical stress in the bodies, working with the drum is a very non-invasive way of providing healing. Their reactions can range from meditative to curious and playful interaction. I consider myself privileged to share these times. I totally concur the benefits above, on their behalf too.
    Thank you for sharing this work.

  26. Catherine
    2 years ago

    I have drums, a venue and the willingness to learn but where do I find out about running a drumming circle, is it really a group sitting together for an hour drumming a series of beats? I am delighted the benefits of drumming have come to light, my drum has hung on the wall far too long and I would love to start a circle. Any help and advice would be appreciated, I am in rural France.

    1. Dori Staehle
      2 years ago


      If you’d like to become a trained drum circle facilitator, you can obtain training through HealthRhythms (www.healthrhythms.org. Might only be in the US, though,). You can also try Christine Stevens, http://www.ubdrumcircles.com (She is affiliated with HealthRhythms), or Google Jim Donovan. Both Christine and Jim offer online training. Arthur Hull has training as well. I am also a member of the Drum Circle Facilitators Guild (www.dcfg.org). Good luck and drum on!

      1. Nicole M Paolucci
        2 years ago

        Hi, off topic, but is this Doris Staelhe who used to tutor me in high school? Just curious.

  27. Tim Orgias
    2 years ago

    Hi, thanks for your wonderful article!! We (http://www.inrhythm.com.au) have just returned from 2 weeks of drumming sessions within remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory of Australia, working with the school kids. The therapeutic effects of our programs touch lives on so many levels and we are blessed to drum every day. Your article is a fantastic exposure of the healing power of this modality! Thanks! Here is a quick vid of what some of the kids thought https://web.facebook.com/MCPS.Bathurst/videos/618667091615391/

  28. Dina Scott
    2 years ago

    wow i just love this ..i created a format called DRUMBA and it came about to help my mother who has parkenisons and it has made a world of difference….Allthe drum formats are really taking off Drumns Alive ..Drum Fit .Pound. ck out my website http://www.drumbafitness.com thank you so much i am going to print and pass out to my menbers

  29. Jane Rudden
    2 years ago

    I actuallyJust got home from a djembe lesson.
    I’ve been playing over 20 years. It’s awesome and one of my absolute favorite things in life. I got my niece and drum when she was eight years old and taught her a few things… Including the handover hand pattern which require should keep alternating between your right and left hand She used some …. but after a few years …it ended up in the back of her closet years…
    A few years later when she was 15, and there’s stepmother was in the process of dying from cancer… Claire starts his drumming on the tabletop a very fast and well executed handover hand. I was amazed because I knew she hadn’t been actively drumming in a while. She just said to me oh I just do this in study hall all the time ….. I just laughed. I know drumming is healing and that pattern was in the back of her head and she brought it out at a time when she needed it.

  30. Robin
    2 years ago

    I was wondering why I became so obsessed with Pound! I fell in love with it the first class. I am always happy after just one song! I never knew it was an actual brain reason. I can’t wait to share this information with the members at my studio. We are doing more good for ourselves then just burning calories!

  31. Christiane
    2 years ago

    I took some pole dancing classes a while ago. And yes– it is incredibly difficult. Mostly it involves CORE STRENGTH. And the vast majority of exercises do NOT increase core strength. So– I would say, it has NOTHING to do with your age. It has everything to do with core strength. Try classical Pilates. It makes a world of different. When I first started, I could barely do a roll up. Now, 15 years later, I do all the advanced moves. And I keep getting stronger and more flexible.

  32. Carrie Staller
    2 years ago

    Thanks for this article! I love seeing more people encouraging people and particularly women to drum. I am part of a women’s drumming performance group, Les Femmes de Kissidugu. Women We are trying to encourage women to drum more. For more years, cultures around the world discouraged women from drumming and told them horrible things like, if they drummed, they would be barren, or it would make their eggs fry, or they would have stillborns. Our group is part of a worldwide movement dispelling these myths and encouraging women to step up to the drum! We are based in Oakland, CA. https://www.facebook.com/lesfemmesdekissidugu/

  33. Peter Carels
    2 years ago

    It is always good to read about the benefits of group rhythm circles for all kinds of populations. As a trained HealthRhythms facilitator, I have had the opportunity to put theory to practice and experience the results. The more the word gets out, the more people will get on board with this fun and beneficial activity. Thank you for helping spread the word.

  34. Rick McBride
    2 years ago

    We have maintained the same Native American-based drum circle in south Florida for over ten years now, as well as others. While we are ceremonialists, the benefits you cite from social drumming are present in this type of circle as well. In addition, at a point during the ceremony I will offer drum healing to those who have interest. Rather than take up space here, if you are interested in some of the experiences of participants, follow this link:


    You will also read about the protocols and benefits, as well as what qualifies me to do this ceremony and others. Come join us!

    1. Pearl Rauberts
      2 years ago

      I have been participating in these Native American Drumming Circles since 2007. They are incredibly powerful and offer a deeply spiritual experience. The healing energy is profound. It is an honor to participate. The Lakota prayer songs we sing are amazing and my life has been changed for the better through participating.

    2. Christiane
      2 years ago

      HI Rick– thank you SO much for this reply. And also for including the link. Reading this gave me the chills. A sure sign of “truth.” Christiane

  35. Shanti
    2 years ago

    West African drumming is my passion. I agree with all your points! I’m in an all-wimmin drum troupe that gathers weekly to practice–they quickly became my “soul sisters.” I attend 3 hours of classes weekly–just can hardly get enough of this wonderful, ancient practice.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      How wonderful. My daughter did West African dance in college. The drummers from Mali were other- worldly. I love hearing what you’re doing. Thank you. Christiane

  36. B. Spriggs
    2 years ago

    I know the healing power of drumming. I received a drum massage a few years ago. A virus 3 years prior left me deaf in my right ear. I had seen doctors, including an ENT twice and audiologist. The ENT doctor arranged for a hearing aid and I wasn’t ready to give up. By accident, through a drum massage for chronic pain issues from Cyndi Boot from (www.rhythmicmemory.com), my ear opened up and I have been hearing from that ear ever since. It has also helped me with sinus issues as well. She also goes into residential facilities, assisted living and nursing homes and has drum circles for the elderly and those with dementia and Alzheimer’s and she and the staff of those places see results. I am a believer in the healing power of drumming and thankful for the experience. I was beginning to lose hope.

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      What an amazing story. I am transfixed. Thank you so much for sharing this. Your experience will help so many people. Christiane

  37. Cheri Bunker
    2 years ago

    I drum weekly with people with dementia and Alzheimers and other disabilities. It makes my day just as much as theirs. It is such a joy to be able to drum! If you had a bad day before starting to drum you can’t even think about it. Really lifts your spirit.

    1. Jean S.
      2 years ago

      Cheri, I want to thank you for drumming with people that have dementia and Alzheimer’s. I am a hospice volunteer and these are the “forgotten” people. For some of them even their own families don’t visit them and if they do it is far and few between. Just heart breaking for me when I see this. God bless you and the other people that also wrote in this column that they drum with the people who REALLY could use this. And thank you Dr. Northrup for writing about this! I’m going to try and find a group here in the Eau Claire WI area. I’m excited!!!!

      1. Christiane
        2 years ago

        Keep us posted Jean. I’m excited for you. Thank you

      2. ginger wilcox
        2 years ago

        Jean, a group of us in Eau Claire recently took a class and made our own drums. I already had 6 drums but making my own is also so wonderful! Anyway, we are now in process of forming a regular drumming group. You would certainly be welcome, this is a group of wondrous women. Contact Heather or Deb at the Soulstice Wellness center. All their information is on line. Hope to see you! Ginger

  38. Treehouse Wise Woman
    2 years ago

    Brilliant article and great reminder to follow the primal passion of our core. We have drum circles on my 70 acre nature retreat an hour outside St. Louis around a fire and it completely restores the soul. The men drum and the women dance in our Goddess power. Thank you for the reminder to schedule another event. I love your valuable articles. Thank you.

    1. Trina
      2 years ago


    2. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Now THAT is just plain heavenly!!!!

    3. Shelley
      2 years ago

      I live in St. Louis and would like more info on your retreat.

  39. Irene
    2 years ago

    Thank you Dr. Northrup for sharing your informed perspective!

    I have been drumming and making music with Music For People – musicforpeople.org for the last three years and it has changed my life. What a joy! Also, please check out Mary Knysh’s website: http://www.rhythmicconnections.com
    She is a goddess of joy who inspires everyone around her with her drum facilitation and improvisation work!

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      HI Irene, I am so inspired by this post. Thank you so very much.

  40. judith laraa
    2 years ago

    I really enjoy every moment in my life and every month in one circle of drums is a blessing for me

  41. Laurie Martin
    2 years ago

    Loved your comprehensive blog about the benefits of “Rhythmacize”. I’m a trained HealthRHYTHMS (Remo.com) Drum Circle facilitator. I work with folks from 2 to 102 in many settings- schools, mental health, ECE, cancer recovery, memory care, senior living etc. As a Guide, I enjoy & appreciate the experience of all those in Circle. Today’s comments from children, filling in the blank – Rhythm is “nature, love, peace, appreciation, wind, ocean, life & death… everything”, while having fun, putting the unity in CommUnity! I love what I do!! RhythmU, “who yoU are Beat by Beat…”

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Great post. Thank you!

  42. Leah
    2 years ago

    Hi Dr. Northrup, thank you so much for all of your wisdom! I am writing a dissertation on the experience of live music and its therapeutic effects. I am wondering if you could share the references for the research done on “the physical transmission of rhythmic energy to the brain actually synchronizes the left and right hemispheres”. Thank you! You are quite an inspiration.

  43. Jude Walsh Whelley
    2 years ago

    I recently joined a drumming circle that meets right after my NIa dance class (also new to me) and love it. First, the women in the group are amazingly diverse but uniformly wonderful. The dance gets my large muscles loose and my brain relaxed. The drumming takes my brain to a whole other place. Usually after classes I go to dinner with my friend and then go home and write to tap into the unleashed creativity.

  44. Robert Fish
    2 years ago

    Thanks so much Doctor,
    You’ve written a wonderful expose on the therapeutic & social benefits of drumming. My drumming partner, Diana Young (who is also a Certified Reiki Master Teacher and Certified Eden Energy Medicine practitioner who incorporates her focusing exercises to all our classes) and I created the Young Fish School of World Drumming in 1997 and have been conducting hands on educational and therapeutic global drumming programs for K-12, community centers, all populations with special needs, etc. We live in RI and are on the Artist Rosters of RISCA/The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, RI Teaching Artist Center, VSA of RI/Very Special Arts for children & teenagers with special needs as well as the NEST grant roster/NEFA’s New England States Touring grants. We have found those with behavioral issues, including teenagers in recovery, benefit greatly from drumming … While in session most children, teens and adults with behavioral issues are far calmer without incident … We would love to share our experiences with you. You can get in touch with us at dianayoung@youngfishschool.com or rafish@youngfishschool.com … We will create a new Website soon … Thank you so much for your highly informative feature on the positive empowerment people can attain from drumming, RA Fish / Bob

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      So uplifting and full of hope. Thank you!!

  45. Michele Marie
    2 years ago

    Good on you Christine, I have quite a few of your books and love your work. I am also a drumming facilitator in Australia. My business is Drum4fun.com.au – 2 women run it – me in my 50’s and my business partner in her 60’s We have been drumming for over 40 years combined. If ever you come to Australia – we will happily run a drum circle for you.

  46. Tomasa
    2 years ago

    So, so true. I do African drumming and it infuses me with joy.

  47. susan
    2 years ago

    I belonged to a woman’s drumming circle many moons ago. We met once a month in a book store. It was magical and I miss it!!

  48. David Day
    2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Drumming and its effects on our whole being. I facilitate drumming event for people of all walks of life and see this reaction on people in many environments including harsh environments like a prison. It is amazing to see a persons transformation when drumming it can happen instantly. It’s can only be good.
    I hope that many more medical professionals like yourself promote recreational drumming and its health benefits.
    Much Thanks
    David Day

  49. Dori Staehle
    2 years ago

    Well said! I started playing percussion in a band about 9 years ago and began experimenting with different techniques to help kids with ADHD issues. I’ve since experienced physical and emotional healing from hand drumming, both personally and with private clients and groups of all ages. I use African drums (Djembes) and a Native American drum with a mallet. The sound waves are awesome and produce healing, clarity, and stress relief – often after just one session. Sorry Big Pharma but drumming is much safer and more effective. Plus, it’s fun! I’m in my 50’s, in really great health, and I’m still rockin’! #drumsnotdrugs

    1. Christiane
      2 years ago

      Love the hashtag: #drumsnotdrugs Brilliant. And you right.

  50. Danyel
    2 years ago

    I very much need this type of therapy! Any recommendations as to where, or what kind of drums?

    1. Carla Carnegie
      2 years ago

      Danyel, look on FB or google HealthRHYTHMS in your area. There, you will find drum circles such as is described to participate in that are run by trained facilitators to attain best results. Most supply the drums to use, and offer classes on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Any hand held type of drum, such as frame drums, the djembe, tubano work fine. In the circle, you will see everything from shakers to the bigger instruments like I mentioned. All the best!

  51. London jones
    2 years ago

    Music is the beat of life

    1. pamelawy
      2 years ago

      Drums are the heartbeat of the earth.

      1. Christiane
        2 years ago

        Yes yes yes!

  52. janice
    2 years ago

    Hi, The drumming I have done which was minimal was fabulous. Its like a meditation with your whole being in synch and totally in the moment. Please can I ask a question on another subject: I have always been in synch with your teachings on age and do not allow my age to dictate to me at all. After three years of kickboxing training which was the toughest training I have ever experienced and I became incredibly strong and fit, I have taken up pole dancing. This makes the kickboxing seem mild as you have to be so incredibly strong. I have always been very physically strong but I am finding that it almost seems that I have reached a strength limit which is very inconvenient as this affects everything you do. I can pick up 25kg of dog food etc, as an example, so I thought I was strong. I am 68 in June and for the first time I am wondering if age has anything to do with this. I dont want to believe it could be true but would really appreciate your comments. thanks so much.

    1. K C
      2 years ago

      I love and admire that you have started pole dancing. I am about your age and I have allowed my mind to tell me I’m too old to try pole dancing. Thank you for popping that bubble for me.

    2. Timmie
      2 years ago

      Janice – reading your comment was so inspirational! Even though you say you feel like you’ve plateaued in strength, you are incredibly strong, probably stronger than I am at 29 (and I’m fit!). I hope you can continue to enjoy and revel in the amount of physical power that you have 🙂

    3. Jean S.
      2 years ago

      Janice – I admire you for your pole dancing. I know of some women your age that can life 165 pounds!!! Could you possibly work with a trainer to see what can be done to change this for you? You rock!!!! You strike me as someone who will not give up!!!

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